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4 days until Christmas…

A friend of mine had a very interesting question for me yesterday.  He asked, “Would you still be blogging everyday if you were married?”  My reaction at that moment was yes, probably, but the process might look a little different.  I might just be blogging random stories, and would not have made the 25 day Christmas commitment.  I walked away and didn’t think much about it.

Yesterday was busy, at work in the morning, then a photo shoot scheduled for the afternoon and more work in the evening.  My Sunday afternoon photo shoots usually consist of driving to small towns and looking for abandoned houses with a group of people.  Yesterday, I photographed a band called Moving Colors.  They rock the house everywhere they play and I really enjoyed doing the shoot.  We did some silhouettes behind the big screen, what a blast!

After I left the shoot, I had to run to the bookstore to find some Luke 2 images for a video.  As I was on my way there, having a small amount of time for personal reflection, I couldn’t help thinking about the question again.  Why did he ask that?  Curiosity got the best of me, I had to email him and find out.  I typed it at a stoplight, not while driving… just for the record.

I went to dinner with a friend, one whom needed a break as badly as I did, and had some nice ‘down time’.  Through the course of our conversation, it was apparent to me that nobody gets enough personal time or down time, especially during the Christmas season.  I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing, but certainly there has to be some holiday balance.  Where?  I have no idea.

I’m intrigued by the name Moving Colors.  I forgot to ask how they came up with the name.  As I look at it, it’s very descriptive of the way I see things in my world.  Life moves so quickly, it sometimes looks like a blur of colors in a time-lapse video.  The name is obviously based on their incredible talent and I’m quite sure, has nothing to do with a fast paced life.

I received a reply to my email, “…when you are married one tends to process life issues out loud with their spouse.  Since you don’t have one right now you seem to be processing life in your blogs.”  I had never really thought about it that way.  Hmm.  More food for thought.

Trying to live this Christmas more outside myself has been an extraordinary experience.  Spending time doing things for others, not for myself, is just an awe-inspiring way to spend time.  I plan to do this well into next year, not stopping after the Christmas season.  As Jim Johnson said in his message yesterday about living upside-down, we tend to forget the changes we have made to live differently and go back to the same daily grind.  Next year at this time, we’ll start the whole process over again.  Jim suggested we leave a Christmas item out of storage this year to remind us of our promised change.  Being the weird artist type that I am, I already do that, so I’ll have to choose something different that my usual Christmas lights.  Maybe an ornament.  One for me and one for each of my kids.

To answer the blogging question, honestly, I really don’t know what would be different.  I don’t really have a definite answer.  I might be blogging, I might not.  Blogging might be a substitute for adult conversation and relationships.  It might be a daily cure for loneliness.  It might be just for fun.  It might be my down time.  It might be a place for me to express my humorous and complex viewpoints on life.  Whatever it is, God is involved in it.  Maybe I don’t need to leave anything out of the Christmas box.  My blog might be the thing I need to remember the changes I have made.  I suppose I should read my blog every so often throughout the year so the tinselectomy changes don’t fade away.

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18 days until Christmas…

You know, when you look at the way we do Christmas these days, the commercialism, the chaos and the excess, it’s no wonder why at some point, we have to poke fun at the ridiculousness of it.  Here are some great pics of Christmas weirdness, fun and creativity.

This guy wins the award of creativity.  I wish I had thought of this!  Nope, it’s not a real guy hanging there.  He staged this, but after a couple of days, had to take it down.  People were frantically trying to run over and help him.  A few cars actually drove into his yard in a panic, worked quickly to get the ladder back up, only to find out there was no guy up there.  I call this performance art.  I wonder if he had a video camera set up?

I Googled ‘dead Santa’ yesterday before writing about the Christmas spirit.  I came across a few images that were intriguing.  This dead Santa illustration was created by Brandon Reese.  This was one of many funny Christmas icon illustrations.  It’s odd, but I love the retro look and colors.  I can’t help but wonder why he created this image and how it was used.

This one came up on the dead Santa search too.  Did you notice the peppermint candy border on the rug?  Great artistic details.  Good thing they don’t outline all the dead ones laying around in people’s yards.  Wow, wouldn’t the 3M tape company love that?

One of my favorite sitcoms of all times is The Drew Carey show.  Beer kegs in Christmas lights?  These have to be full of Buzz beer.  Maybe he’s going to have a block party.  If this was my neighbor, I would have to go check to see if any of these actually had beer in them.

Where does one get this many kegs?  Notice the extra keg behind the keg tree?  I’m guessing his patio table base is also a keg, and judging by the looks of this place, he probably has a basement, full of kegs.

Okay, so we started the tree segment with a beer tree.  I found lots of unique Christmas trees out there, ‘out there’ meaning on the internet.  Don’t worry, I plan to have many more of my own crazy photos in future posts.

Our Christmas message series at church this year is called Upside-down Christmas.  I was so excited when that was decided because we were going to finally use the idea Rod and I talked about, upside-down trees.  Sadly to me, nobody liked the idea this year.  I thought about hanging my tree upside-down.  Problem?  It’s a 10′ tree that works like an umbrella.  Four extremely heavy pieces, that if placed upside-down, would fall together and look like a tree that should be strapped to the top of a car to take home.

Let’s start with the upside-down tree.  This is one of the newest fads in Christmas decor, although there is much controversy about the symbolic meaning of it.  For some, this is just to be different, for others, it creates more space for this Christmas icon and makes more room for gifts.  Clearly we need more room for all of the stuff we are expected to, and probably will purchase.

Others have said an upright tree points to heaven, an upside-down tree, well, not so much.  Anytime you mess with tradition, there will always be a group of protestors.

Why do I like the upside-down tree?  I like it for the same reason we are doing a message series about an upside-down Christmas.  When you turn something upside-down, it usually makes a mess at first, but then you think about it, reorganize all of the pieces and maybe put everything back together in a different and better way.  Turning Christmas upside-down is an intentional action, with results you may never have thought of otherwise.  Giving, celebrating and living differently as been an amazing experience for me, so amazing that I cannot go back to my former, selfish ways.

Here are some other cool and creative trees.

Okay, so just one more.  I had an idea of something crazy I wanted to do with my hair when it was long.  My stylist, Steve Hodges, agreed to bleach and color a peace sign into my hair.  Although we have all of the technical details worked out, there’s still the reality of my curly hair.  When I wear my hair straight, the peace sign will look like a peace sign.  When it’s curly, it will look like an abstract color blob, which really isn’t a problem for me, nor would anyone question it.  In the mean time, maybe I can have Steve do this with my hair.

I think Christmas fun might be part of the Christmas spirit.  I don’t think a ‘tinselectomy‘ means that you have to spend less time decorating, however I do believe you should encounter joy in it and create some great life moments with it.  If it feels like work or feels like something you have to do, then don’t do it.  No matter how you choose to express Christmas, make it your own self-expression, depicting what is in your heart, not what society is promoting today.


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